“There was a new camp, consisted only in the beginning of six blocks, barracks, and at night we were taken to our barrack, and this was our barrack for the whole year, and the conditions were there much worse than in Sachsenhausen. During the day, we had to march to the stone quarry, I would say maybe 20 minutes away, and it was in a mountainous terrain, and, uh, there we had to work, we had to work in this quarry carrying the heavy rocks [coughs], and, uh, people died like flies. On the way back, we had to everyone carry one big rock on our shoulders to the camp because coming home, I mean, to the barracks, to the camp after the report, counting how many people are left, or how many, if the, the same amount of people is coming back who went out of the camp, they said, "All go back to the camp, to the barracks, but the Jews remain." And we had to continue to build the camp till twelve o'clock at night. So--all without food. When we came to the barracks, we were so tired that we just didn't have any appetite. We fall asleep. And in the morning, five, six o'clock right away, up and again the same thing.”
Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp
The Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp was initially organized as a subcamp for Sachsenhausen. It became an independent camp in 1941. Prisoners were sent to work in the nearby granite quarry, and as the camp expanded, many prisoners worked in the factories of several subcamps. The most famous of Gross-Rosen's subcamps was Brunnlitz where the workers of Oskar Schindler's textile factory were interned. Overall, Schindler saved over a thousand Jews who worked in this camp. Gross-Rosen was a large and very typical Nazi concentration camp. In 1944, Gross-Rosen reached its peak population, holding eleven percent of all Nazi prisoners in the main and subcamps. When the Soviet Army began moving west, thousands of Jews were transferred from Auschwitz and other Polish camps to Gross-Rosen where they were interned until the Soviets liberated the camp in February 1945.
Siegfried Halbreich Describes conditions and forced labor in the Gross-Rosen camp [1992 interview]
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